The Little Train
The little train, Goes up the track. It says ‘toot toot’ And comes right back......
Once you enter the red roofed toy house, galloping locomotive of the train welcomes you. It turns on the brass track, its steam, its whistling sound … and kids immediately connect to the place. Just in front of the entrance, above the reception desk is this suspended toy train. It infuses thrill & joy into the innocent children and makes the tiny fingers take you around the place. This is what we had dreamt & resized it to suit the reality….As Doctor & I are keen not to give it a typical hospital look, not even too kiddies look; the mission is decided. Our first priority is to make the space utmost hygienic & maintenance free. To make changes according to the requirements of a pediatric hospital, my first job was to remove the R.C.C. flower bed from both the central O.T.s. The flower bed had become a dustbin; a place to spit; restricted the sun light and pigeons made it even dirtier.Our aim was to keep layout very simple. On the top floor there were special rooms, semi special rooms and one toy room cum library. For the ease of maintenance, we zeroed down on vitrified tiles for the flooring and even for the walls up to lintel level. All the frames of the doors & windows were to be granite, and different colors of tiles and simple geometrical shapes of the flooring pattern were chosen for the passage lights. We have successfully experimented with anodized aluminum pipe to hold T5 tubes & IW led lights.Being the most important & critical zone; N.I.C.U. & operation theatre on the second floor had very specific demands. Doctor had precise requirements, allowing reflections on technology and aesthetics. Utmost care has been taken on every inch of the area. To avoid false ceiling & to avoid beams shadow, we have created post-formed planks & suspended it at beam height to hold lights.The Cabins of the doctors saw a big change. Examination table was created on doctor’s table itself by making ellipse shaped foamed top, at the table’s end. It worked out for them practically & saved a lot of space.
First floor comprising of P.I.C.U., non-ac rooms & general wards had to be given face lift. It now has engaging geometrical and colorful flooring. Round columns of the O.T.s have a youthful look with the fresh color on them.
Just like a perfect host, inviting you inside and directing you to the various floors is the ground floor, designed especially to suit the taste of the kids. OPD, Medical store and lab on this floor come alive with the most popular & most common game which none of us have missed as a child…the ‘snakes & ladders’! It bends from floor vertically to make a reception table. It has only ladders to climb (the positive vibes they gather right from the entry) that makes the entrance vibrant & pleasing. In the waiting area, maximum parents & kids gather, so acoustical ceiling has been given to soften the noise & one strip of colorful rainbow, birds & moon running across the ceiling, bents on the wall to plug a TV. The lone R.C.C. column was done away by mirroring one more false column & we made it work for us by putting alphabets with characters to enliven it.
Doctor wanted two examination tables for the patients, one table for himself & a sofa as well. He has two interns seating besides him & chairs for accompanying parents. So a table was designed out of colorful cubes and given a shape of ‘L’. One side was utilized by his assistants and the other side by parents. It worked very well with the trio being indeed at an important task…. Along this main cabin was a 2nd consulting room which has a direct access from the passage. Consulting room-2 also leads to the rest room. It has a single bed, a pantry, small wash room and two seater dining table for the doctor couple.
The basement was converted into a full-fledged laboratory, x-ray rooms a physiotherapy section & a consulting cabin for specialist. It has admin cum account section in one corner & the central part was left open for the kids.
All and all, we have made an effort to make the space live & bubbly, from the very entrance, it looks like an entrance to a Toyland made out of colorful blocks. Multicolored game board floor leads to the suspended train which can be seen from all the floors. Every floor with its distinctive color, a typical geometry reveals a drama that every child is part of.
For kids it is a place to play, have fun and get healed, for doctors it is a sincere duty & sacred place to save lives, and for designers like us, a smile on the child’s face is nothing less than an award. Blessed & rewarded by small angels, the inner beauty grows…